Australian/UK artist Sharl comes with her latest album City Lights which dazzles as much as its title. City Lights by Sharl is a melancholic album about the perils of love and its frustrations. The Melbourne based Sharl was raised in the UK and was previously signed to an indie label there. With her debut album, she establishes herself as a firebrand and versatile artist.
The album begins with I Fell In Love. This song is enticing and deals with the resilience formed as a poor relationship comes to its conclusion. With a theatrical string section, pianos, and a trap rhythm, this song establishes a modern and enchanting sound for the record. Games is an electropop song that will burn the dance floor and has a strong emotional core. The song explores the relational interactions people have to endure. It talks of the need to be real in a relationship but the sheer difficulty to do so. The song uses retro video game samples which work stunningly well in the arrangement and production of the song. A modern pop song which is a highlight of the record.
The energy changes with the third song Without Me. The vocal runs in the chorus melody is dazzling. Combined with harmonies and synth production, this is a fine song. The song lyrically deals with the insecurity and the friction points of a relationship that seems to fade away. Cascading melodic and harmonic lines stick in your mind after the song is over. With an engaging piano riff, begins Hanging On. The electropop record turns into gospel and soul-inspired pop song with an electronic beat. Sharl shows her stunning vocal dexterity and versatility in this song. The song is about the frustration of the flimsiness of a lover and the lack of commitment.
Lonely marks another transition in terms of feel. The arrangement of this song is completely organic with pianos, guitars, and a pop drum kit. Solitude has no better expression in this heartfelt ballad of coming to terms with the ghost of all emotions. My Own Advice deals with the funny reality of the problems between heart and mind. The mind knows one’s worth, but the intuitive actions don’t align with what we know. The electropop vibe comes up with this song which has a good dynamic spectrum going from quiet to grand in a short span. 3 Words is an alternative rock song with a great hook and sentimental base. We hear distorted guitars here with a fiery aura that Sharl’s vocals and the arrangement bring in. A blazing guitar solo seals the deal on this album highlight.
A happy pop song with Real Love, changes the mood. The lyrical theme talks about the trappings that society creates around the idea of love and contrasting that with a genuine feeling of love one desires. The chorus has a sweet fading synth hook melody line. The airy chords and synth production creates a light buzz sensation which stays long after the song ends. The album concludes with the song Outside and the title track City Lights. Outside is 90s pop song which mixes house with a swag attitude. This is another highlight of the album. A chorus which you wanna listen to several times and groovy bassline. The title track concludes the record with stunning revers, pianos, and string sections.
The album has some stunning organic production both conventional and electronic. Sharl traverses genres like pop, electronic, dance, soul, and rock with much ease. The impeccable songwriting shows that she nailed down the craft of writing songs that are tight on musicality and groove. Overall City Lights is the quintessential versatile pop album by a dazzling artist.